WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, met today with Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake regarding the state of veterans' mental health care, especially veteran suicide and the need for stronger mental health outreach. Akaka reiterated earlier requests for accurate data on veteran suicide, following recent reports that the Department's top mental health official attempted to cover-up the number of veterans attempting suicide.
"Whether one person stays or goes, VA's entire mental health care system needs to improve," said Akaka, who earlier called for the resignation of VA's top mental health official. "Without accurate information on veteran suicide, Congress cannot fulfill its oversight responsibilities."
Akaka also thanked Peake for his decision to boost funding for the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The National Center for PTSD consists of seven VA centers of excellence across the mainland U.S. and Hawaii, with a headquarters in White River Junction, Vermont. The Center has taken on a larger mission in recent years, due in part to the ongoing wars and the increasing number of veterans suffering from PTSD.